The games at Ground Kontrol have enjoyed a brief respite from competition the past couple of months, but the break is over! Two Atari games that demand precise timing and strategic thinking face off in the first Clash of the Classics of 2016: Marble Madness and KLAX!
A distinctively different arcade experience since its release in 1984, Marble Madness’ difficulty makes it live up to its name. If you grew up playing with wooden labyrinth puzzles that challenged you to send a marble through a maze by tilting and turning, you might have a slight advantage, but that will change quickly. You control an unassuming marble with a simple mission: Get to the end of the maze as quickly as possible! Roll the trackball in the direction you’d like to travel, but be careful to control your speed, as there are many twists and turns but nothing to protect you from sending your sphere over the edge! Rush to beat the clock in stages that increase in complexity, and watch out for enemies and obstacles like acid pools, hammers, vacuums and more. Unlike most arcade games, Marble Madness actually has an end, so try to hold on to your sanity until you see the end of stage 6!
In 1989, Atari was ready for the 90s – and a spiritual successor to the smash hit Tetris. Enter KLAX, a colorful psuedo-3D puzzle game that shared similarities with Tetris and Sega’s Columns, while feeling pretty original. Emblazoned with colors and patterns that wouldn’t look out of place in 90s surf or skate wear (and featuring a stylized hand logo that was likely inspired by Body Glove), KLAX has a bold appearance backed up by solid game play. You’re a nameless entity facing a playfield receding into the horizon, and columns of colored tiles propel themselves towards you. Armed with a moving platform, you have to catch the tiles and strategically stack them in front of you. Like-colored tiles will disappear if the right conditions are met: Stack 3 or more alike vertically, horizontally, or diagonally and they’ll form a “KLAX” and disappear; giving you a point bonus and clearing up much-needed free space. Each wave asks you to meet certain challenges, like a number of vertical “KLAXes”, a points quota, or simply surviving a bunch of waves. If you run out of free space to stack tiles, or you let too many drop without catching them, it’s game over!
Are you more of a twitch gamer, ready to take on the craziest stunt courses ever devised for a mere marble? Or are you a puzzle prodigy, eager to organize the universe, starting with a bunch of blocks? Play Marble Madness, KLAX, or both through Wednesday March 9th and help us decide what game stays and what game goes!